recommend to do/doing

Discussion in 'English Only' started by pepe_le_pooh, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. pepe_le_pooh New Member

    English - Ireland
    1) I recommend you to take an umbrella.
    2) I recommend taking an umbrella.
    3) I recommend to take an umbrella.

    1 and 2 feel ok to me, but not 3.
    Do you agree? Can you explain why?
    (In particular, why is 1 ok, but not 3.


    EDIT: The more I look at this, the less I think 1 is correct after all. Should it be "I recommend (that) you take an umbrella"?
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    I agree with your judgements, except that 1) is somewhat awkward for me. Let's add some more data into the mix:

    4) I recommend you take an umbrella. (I prefer this to your 1.)
    5) I recommend that you take an umbrella.
    6) I recommend for you to take an umbrella. (not good, though not impossible)
    7) I recommend you taking an umbrella.
    8) I recommend your taking an umbrella.

    It gets more complex when we switch to first or third person, but then we find that the pronoun is subject of the following verb phrase (rather than object of 'recommend'), and this clause is subjunctive, with a minority option of indicative:

    9) She recommended I take an umbrella.
    10) She recommended I took an umbrella.
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Okay, I've got my lunch, I've had a think about the theory as I walked. Here's what I think is going on. It's open to refutation by counterexamples (one of which I might already have).

    Both infinitive clauses and gerund-participial clauses can lack a subject: 'To err is human'; 'Erring is human'. In that position, the semantic subject is arbitrary, i.e. equivalent to 'For anyone to err is human'; 'Anyone('s) erring is human'. But when these clauses are in catenative construction with a preceding verb, only the gerund-participial clause allows arbitrary subject interpretation:

    The tourist brochure recommends visiting the Cathedral.

    The infinitive clause with null subject is controlled, i.e. its semantic subject is necessarily the same as the subject of the controlling verb:

    I hope to visit the Cathedral. (= I hope that I visit . . .)
    I intend to . . .
    I planned to . . .

    Where the infinitive clause has a different subject, it has to be marked by the subject subordinator 'for':

    I intend for you to take an umbrella.
    I planned for him to visit the Cathedral.

    This explains why 'recommend to' is disallowed. The subjectless infinitive can't be used of a different person from the person recommending.

    I was going to make a further long comment on the 'I intend you to' construction, but I've decided it's less important than I thought. The version without 'for' but with 'to' is a different structure, <object> + <subjectless infinitive>, i.e. the 'you' is inside the matrix clause, not the infinitive clause. This could be verified/falsified by showing that it can be passivized in the matrix clause (known counterexample: *You are wanted to take an umbrella), whereas something that's always governed by the infinitive subject marker 'for' can't be (example: *He was planned to visit the Cathedral).
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  4. pepe_le_pooh New Member

    English - Ireland
    Thanks for the response. From the comments quoted above:
    "I recommend to take an umbrella" - NOK
    "It is recommended to take an umbrella" - OK

  5. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    NOK? :confused:
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Here's how it is for me, pepe:

    I recommend you to take an umbrella :tick:But I know people here have sometimes found it strange when I've used recommend with object+infintive

    I recommend [that] you take an umbrella:tick: I'm happy with the subjuntive in all persons except the third person singular, where it becomes obvious that it is a subjunctive, if you see what I mean. So I wouldn't say I recommend [that] he take; instead, I'd fall back on the infinitive: I recommend him to take.

    I recommend taking:tick:

    I think etb has given an interesting explanation of why :cross:I recommend to visit doesn't work. His post also strengthens my belief that I'm not weird in using object+infinitive after recommend: I just put recommend in the same 'basket' as intend rather than plan.
  7. G-Force_Shine New Member

    Korean - Korean

    This is more than perfect explanation to me.
    I've just googled while searching for a perfect reason for why this sentence, "I recommend many people to take this course." looks unnatural, which happens to be "the very classic example" regarded to be the most right in a Korean's No.1 English textbook. Oh, I forgot to say many "school teachers" in here don't like to admit that "I recommend many people take this course." is more natural, which forces many students to memorize "I recommend someone to take -" sort of thing.
    I wish they saw this thread so that they can have a better understanding about this thing.

Share This Page